My Sounders/Mariners extravaganza

After having been up late the night before at the Padres blowout (one of the best yet slowest games I think I’ve ever been to, without extra innings), I set my alarm for 7am yesterday morning, and got up to be ready for going to Fuel for pre-match Sounders shenanigans, and the March to the Match – I love the march, it’s the only way to do soccer, in my opinion. Conor met me here, and Tom drove us down to Fuel so we wouldn’t have to worry about paying a lot for parking, or driving home under the influence of anything (though we stopped drinking long before it would have been an issue). We dragged our tired husks to the bar, got some nice breakfast cider, and sat outside, people watching and chatting to whomever decided to give us the time of day.

The weather – although slightly cold – was cooperative enough, and granted us sunny and partly sunny skies for most of the early day. “The bluest skies you’ve ever seen…”

We had our cider and one round of beer before we were shooed out of Fuel to Pioneer Square. The band was already leaving on their way, and Conor and I unfortunately towards the back of the march. I say unfortunately because the farther away you get from the capo, the less likely you are to be able to sing with the crowd, and oftentimes depending on the size of the march (and ours was small yesterday) there is a rolling delay of clapping vs. singing. But we managed to make due. We got Occidental, and as we neared the stadium, a small band of San Jose Earthquake Ultras were there to meet us. We greeted them with shouts of “Who are ya?” They greeted us with stupidity – several members of the ECS had to stand in between other ECS members and the Earthquake fans, and there was a bit of a row brewing. I’ll get to how ridiculous that situation turned out to be later.

The small space reserved for the opposing team’s fans at Qwest. Credit where credit is due, they did their best to cheer on their team – but they apparently have no concept of sportsmanship at all. Again, more on that later…

I missed the Golden Scarf ceremony because I was in the bathroom and thought I had more time. It was Military Appreciation Day there, and the SFC let them know they were welcome and loved:

Complete with fireworks:

The game was fun, but not very good. The Earthquake had possession of the ball for most of the game, and even though the second half of the game was spent mainly at the Brougham end, and there were a lot of shots on goal, there was no goal to be had. We were outgunned, plain and simple. For everything we did, San Jose had an answer, and it was usually a superior move to ours. Our shots were sloppy, and they cost us the game. Sounders lose, 1-0. The “highlight” of my day, however, came during one of the shoutbacks between the ECS and the rest of the stadium. Nobody in our section was participating, so when the ECS yelled “SEAAATTLE!” I shouted back “SOOUUUNDERS!” Some idiot in front of me wearing his girlfriend’s sunglasses turned around and said “We’re the Seattle part.” to which I responded “Well, nobody else is doing it at all.” Conor and I had spent most of the game singing the chants, and were the only two within several rows of us doing so. These kids in front of us never raised their voices or their hands for anything, and this guy thinks he’s going to school me? Puh-leeeze! So that was fun. Also, just like Rob Johnson, Conor’s had knee surgery, and during one particularly exciting play, he jumped up and came down way too hard, sending him to his chair for a bit. He lived through the rest of the day, though, which was impressive, considering all the walking and standing we continued to do.

After the game, we wound up leaving via the back of the stadium, which meant we had to go all the way around to my intended lunch destination, Elysian Fields Brewery. They make an excellent Greek plate, and a beer called Perseus Porter that will knock your socks off. We also took advantage of the Monster Energy Drink truck giving out free samples of their most recent heart-palpitations-in-a-can, and sat on the curb waiting for the line to get into the Elysian to dissipate. While we sat there and took stock of our surroundings, a small group of Earthquake Ultras came out, flags up and guns blazing. They were looking to fight, and trying to start one with anyone wearing green. Because of the fact that it was hot out, I had taken off my Sounders sweatshirt and was cleverly disguised as a hapless Mariners fan. We watched them drunkenly attempt to get into the Elysian, then, when they were denied there, Sluggers next door. A few motorbike cops showed up, and kept tabs on them as they shouted at people in the apartments above Sluggers, who were flying a Sounders flag off their balcony. The police continued to quietly and methodically usher them down the street until they were out of our earshot and sight. I have no idea where they went or if they made it to any bars in the area. Part of me kind of hopes they headed in the direction of Fuel, but I may never know…

We finally got into the Elysian, and got a table and food and drinks. When we were done there, it was just about time to head back down towards SafeCo Field, and we still had a few hours before we had to meet up with Jessica and her family, so we went to Pyramid for a bit instead, did the people watching thing, checked out the photos I had taken during the day so far and the previous night, and just chatted for a bit. As 6pm drew near, we went to the left field entrance, and waited for Jess. She, her mother, her brother and Orion showed up around 6.30, and I learned a valuable lesson about losing one’s tickets.

Originally, Conor was not supposed to go to last night’s game. It was going to be Jess and Orion and me. Then, Jess’s family was gong to be up, so she purchased two more tickets for them. Then, because of the Sounders game being on the same day, Conor decided that he wanted to go, too. The problem? I lost the two extra tickets that Jess purchased and had mailed to me. I still have no clue where they’re at. Word to the wise, it costs another $5 to get tickets reprinted. Long story longer than it needs to be, we wound up getting the family 4 tickets in the bleachers, and Conor and I wound up with tickets in 337, with the assurance from the ticket window fellow that we’d likely be able to move down later in the game. Once all of that was ironed out, more food was procured, and Conor and I actually wound up sitting in the Lookout Landing area (the actual place, not the blog), and taking in some of the game from that vantage point.

A blurry photo of Ian Snell, foot forward:

Looking down over the left field bleachers.

A fan I refer to as the “Go Go Ichiro Guy”, and his collection of situation-appropriate signs:

Around the 5th inning or so, Jessica motioned at us that there were two seats that nobody had used in front of them. So we gathered our things and went down. The game was pitcher-duel-ish, and by this time I think both of us (at least me, for sure) were pretty exhausted. We got down there and made ourselves at home. I got to sit next to some guy who could have been talking to me, or to himself for about 10 minutes. His pants were unzipped, and he had a tiny sign with him on a piece of printer paper (that’s 8×11) that said it was his birthday. Fortunately, 10 minutes of this was all that I got, as he left shortly after we sat down.

Milton Bradley, in his sort-of-not-really natural habitat. I have not yet decided whether or not I like him in left field, or if, like a lot of others, I’d just rather he DH’d full time. He’s made some great plays in that position, but if the past few games are any indication, seems to have a difficult time with balls hit down the line. I think I’d still take him over Raul Ibanez, though, which is saying something. He continues to be well supported by the fans there, though, so that is good to see. I didn’t hear anyone heckling him down there last night, and I’m glad for it.

Shawn Kelley, dealing to the Padres while Jose Lopez waits.

The game became very exciting in the 9th, with an attempted rally, and Mike Sweeney (again, with the Sweeney!) hitting a double to follow up Franklin Gutierrez’s flyout. Jose Lopez wound up with a single, only by the grace of Everth Cabrera fumbling the catch a little bit. With everyone in the stadium pretty jacked up (and surprisingly, still there), Milton Bradley struck out, and Casey Kotchman grounded out, stranding our pinch runners and ending the game, 2-1 Padres.

So, two losses in one day, but a really good day, all in all. As we walked to Krispy Kreme to meet Tom to pick us up, I realized how exhausted I was – that was possibly the longest version of that particular walk I’ve ever had – but I would totally do it again in a heartbeat, 10 thumbs up! I might shoot for a few more hours of sleep the night before, but that technicality aside, I’m good to go.

Today’s Mariners game is just now starting, and I have some things to take care of, so I’m not sure I’ll be able to watch it in it’s entirety. It’s Felix Day, however, which should make things interesting. Looks like the weather is nice out today, and the roof is open. Dave Niehaus says it’s 52F outside. Where is the summer? That Eckstein kid just hit a single off Felix. Oh, boy…

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